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“No ‘I’ In TEAM” – How Do I Build A Successful, Motivated Team?

Every single business relies on teamwork to reach its goals – even a sole trader must reach out for external help from time to time. Being able to communicate and cooperate with others is a critical skill to learn, especially once you find yourself in charge of a team of people.

Much has been written on the importance of using your heart to help inform how you manage a team of people, and how empathy and emotional intelligence can help you see things from their point of view. However, you can achieve even more with an integrated mBraining approach of using all three brains to lead your team. Starting with your head brain – the one that deals with logical thinking, reasoning and cognitive perception. After all, if you find yourself in a position where you have to tell people what you need them to do, being clear in your own mind about your objectives and the reasoning behind them will help you come across with greater confidence and authenticity to get other people to sign up to them too.



Communicating With Confidence

The most successful business leaders recognise that leading a team is all about partnership and cooperation, not simply shouting at your people until they obey your every word. The latter approach instils a culture of fear amongst your staff, rather than the much preferable feeling of convivial partnership. Great leaders tend to be blessed with effective emotional intelligence and can use all three of their brains to provide a clear vision for the task ahead. The head brain provides the logical thinking and clear reasons why things must happen in the way that they do, while the heart provides the feelings behind the decision and the gut backs everything up with courageous, steadfast conviction.



This winning combination leads to confident team management. If you feel satisfied with your decision and can convey your confidence unequivocally and use your managerial ‘clout’ sensitively, then your team will be glad to follow your lead. They will also feel happier asking a confident leader about any areas that they are unsure of, and will be swept up in the positive energy and firm direction being provided at the top levels. The very last thing a team wants is a gutless, vacillating leader who’s afraid to speak their mind or take control.[1]


Building A Team Of Partners

Choosing team members who also have high levels of emotional intelligence is a good idea, as it enables the group to engage with each other with the least amount of friction and the most amount of mutual understanding. If you take time out to explain the mBraining philosophy to your team of emotionally intelligent people, it’s highly likely that they will already be tapping into the messages coming from their three brains to some extent, even if they don’t ‘officially’ realise that they are adopting mBraining techniques to do so.

As well as emotional intelligence, a successful team is one that knows how to multitask and when and how to take the initiative to progress with their work with minimal instruction.

As already discussed, a partnership way of working will result in happier, more proactive team members. Happy, fulfilled employees are more likely to work harder and more collaboratively while caring more about their work and its purpose [1].


Reviewing The Situation

Performance management and the annual cycle of appraisals, assessments and reviews are an inevitable part of people management. While this can be daunting, especially if you are concerned about a team member’s performance for any reason, it can be much easier to approach if you use mBraining techniques to prepare.

It’s perhaps in this area of performance management and employee reviews that the neuro-linguistic concepts behind mBraining come into their own most of all. In wanting to offer a comprehensive review and to communicate praise as genuinely and expansively as we can when it is due, we fall back on phrases that link directly to our three brains as “You’ve put your heart and soul into this project”, “We really appreciate your clear head in times of confusion” and, “I like how you always follow your gut instinct when it comes to your work.”



See if you can now use your performance review processes to encourage your team to think more deeply about how their three brains work and how the differing messages can complement their behaviour at work. If people understand how their brains work, and how the different areas link together, they may find it easier to perform multiple tasks at once and thus increase productivity.



For example, the two hemispheres of the head brain are each responsible for various competencies, such as verbal communication, problem solving and detailed processing (left) and non-verbal tasks, global holistic processing and facial recognition (right).[1]. If we understand how this works, we know that our brains are more than capable of working on more than one of these areas at once, and so we come to trust more and more in our own competencies and those of the people around us.


Conflict resolution

Put any group of people together and there will be conflicts of opinion and differing views on how things should be done – and in which order. One of the hardest aspects of people management can be getting a team to work together smoothly. Often, conflicts can arise through people feeling uneasy about the direction a task is taking, or through feeling like their views aren’t being taken seriously enough.

A destructive cycle can then follow of blaming each other, justifying our own role, denying culpability and throwing out confusing messages to throw others off the scent can arise from a conflict or problem if it is not handled properly. All these reactions come from our head brain, which, logically, enters into self-preservation mode to try and avoid us being admonished or fired. Knowing that this is how your team will be feeling when a crisis rears its ugly head can be extremely useful. By encouraging your team to bypass these thoughts and communicate with their heart and gut brains instead of just entering a blind panic, you can get people to calm down, acknowledge that something must be done to resolve the situation and start thinking about possible solutions using all three of their brains.[1]


Be The Standard Bearer

Finally, a happy team is one whose manager is demonstrably proud of them, and who takes every opportunity to show them off and shout about their strengths and successes. This is one of the nicer aspects of being a manager, and it is one in which you should indulge regularly. A good manager readily pushes his or her people forward to receive praise, rather than seeking glory for themselves. This seeming act of altruism actually has many benefits attached to it in terms of raising morale, enhancing your team’s reputation across the wider company or industry and strengthening your working relationships ahead of future team projects.

Giving praise is an art in itself. It’s important to be specific and honest in your praise, as too many over-the-top, nebulous cries of how fabulous you all are can get wearing very quickly. Once again, we can turn to mBraining to help us find the balance. The study of self-awareness is one of the key elements of the mBraining toolkit[1]. Knowing what is important to you and learning how to tap into other people’s goals and aspirations intuitively will help you align your trumpet-blowing topics with your audience’s own priorities, preoccupations and goals. The more you can chime with these, the larger an impact your team’s performance, and your public broadcast about it, will have on whoever is around to hear about it.

To finish off, here is a task to help you work on strengthening your teamwork and foster an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding. Divide the team into groups of three or four. Ask each group to chat for five minutes about themselves and then write down one thing that they all have in common, one brand new idea for a future task, one long-term team goal or aspiration and one practical thing that they would all like to see changed within the team or company. Discuss these things and see if you can make any of the ideas, goals or changes mentioned actually happen. Don’t be negative about anyone’ input, but address the results clearly, objectively and with empathy and compassion to make everyone feel like a valued part of the group.


If you would like to find out more about team management and working with other people, please contact me to discuss how I can help guide you in this fascinating aspect of leadership in the workplace


[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffschmitt/2013/02/19/12-ways-to-be-the-leader-everyone-wants-to-work-for/#1f12b6b321ed

[2] https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/new_study_shows

[3] mBraining: Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff, pg. 115 (paperback)– 25 Apr 2012

[4] mBraining: Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff, pg. 219 (paperback)– 25 Apr 2012

[5] mBraining: Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff, pg. 271 (paperback)– 25 Apr 2012

Post Author: Gayle Young